Beethoven’s symphony reverberating through the college campus. Sounds strange? Well, that’s exactly what Mar Athanasius College at Kothamangalam has implemented in its effort to become, perhaps, the first musical campus in the country.
In its sprawling campus spread over 70 acres, the college has installed 90 powerful all-weather garden speakers. The project is the brainchild of M.P. Varghese, former principal of the college and secretary of Mar Athanasius College Association.
Music will be played in the campus when there are no class sessions. The project has its route in the realisation that students are as much victims of mental pressure and tense-filled situations as any one else what with constant competition being the order of the day.
Diverse family backgrounds and financial situations could also take its toll on the functioning of brain and mind leaving them far from being relaxed. “This makes them tense and restless and at least a few of them indulge in ragging and similar offences.
Absenteeism and inability to concentrate are also an aftermath of tension and mental imbalances.
It is with the prime intension of ameliorating such difficulties of the students that our college has implemented this project,” Winnie Varghese, college principal, said.
And it is not any run-of-the-mill stuff that is being played on the campus but music of the highest order. The college has made an invaluable collection. This includes symphonies of Beethoven and Mozart, violin concerts of Brahms, piano concerts of Chopin and Greig, concerts of Tchaikovsky, music suite by Handel, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, violin concerts of Mendelssohn and Ravel’s Bolero.
Works of Indian classical masters like Ravi Shankar, Amjad Alikhan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Bismillah Khan, Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Shivkumar Sharma, Vilayat Khan, N. Rajam and Satish Vyas are also being played.
Add to it immortal Hindi film melodies of Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Mannadey, Bhimsen Joshy and Latha Mangeshkar, Carnatic classics of Chempai and Swathi Thirunal and Malayalam melodies of Yesudas and ONV and the collection could make anyone proud.
Music when played loud runs the risk of creating sound pollution rather than having a calming effect on its listeners.
Hence, the college management sees to it that that the sound level on the campus is constantly monitored using the ‘sound level meter’.So, along with academics, music has now become part of the daily lives of thousands of students and faculty coming to Mar Athanasius College, Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Mar Baselios Training College and the Mar Athanasius International School. And no one is complaining.
M. P. Praveen